ert 1 (dĕz′ərt) n. 1. Desert Geography. Others are dry expanses of rock, sand, or salt flats.Kinds of DesertsThe world’s deserts can be divided into five types—subtropical, coastal, rain shadow, interior, and polar. Also called the Wet Sahara. Average annual rainfall ranges from 6 to 10 inches but can be as low as 3.5 inches and as high as 18 inches. The temperature stays high even at night, making the city an “island” of heat in the middle of the desert. Canals and aqueducts supply the Inland Empire with water from the Colorado River, to the east, and the Sierra Nevada snowmelt to the north.A variety of crops can thrive in these irrigated oases. Sift through the sand (and these questions) and uncover the facts in this quiz about the world’s deserts. (2600-1500 BCE) metropolis of the Indus Valley civilization, in what is today Pakistan. Desert definition: A desert is a large area of land, usually in a hot region, where there is almost no... | Meaning, pronunciation, translations and examples See more. It has an average width of around 50 to 80 miles. gradual changes in all the interconnected weather elements on our planet. This whirling column of hot air picks up dust and dirt. The Nile River ecosystem dominates the eastern part of the Sahara Desert, for instance. The oil industry draws companies, migrant workers, engineers, geologists, and biologists to the Middle East. Learn more. Humans who live in the desert usually grow crops to sustain themselves, but they need to be near natural springs and wells in order to do this. Between 1958 and 1971, the government of Egypt constructed a massive dam on the Upper Nile (the southern part of the river, near Egypt’s border with Sudan). Desertification, to put it plainly, is when land that was initially of another kind of biome transforms into a desert biome on account of changes of various types. Animals that have adapted to a desert environment are called xerocoles. Where does the phrase just deserts come from? Aquifers take a long time to refill. You might only see rainfall once every several years in a desert. community and interactions of living and nonliving things in an area. Hooves from grazing livestock compact the soil, preventing it from absorbing water and fertilizers. Hot deserts are usually found between the latitudes of 15°and 35°, located close to the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn. Windbreaks made of trees have been planted throughout the Sahel, the southern border region of the Sahara Desert. visible liquid suspended in the air, such as fog. the art and science of building, maintaining, moving, and demolishing structures. Deserts are often found towards the west of continents. petroleum from a specific reservoir that can be successfully brought to the surface. The roadrunner, native to the deserts of North America, obtains water from its food. line of latitude 23.5 degrees south of the Equator. FREE Revision guides, questions banks and resources . desert. Also called an arroyo. imaginary line around the Earth, another planet, or star running east-west, 0 degrees latitude. ‘Subtropical deserts and tropical savannahs and rainforests have similarly expanded and contracted, imposing their morphogenetic overprint on older landscapes.’ ‘He'd taken to spending long periods of time in the parkland, or out in the desert beyond the planted area, doing what, Annie didn't know.’ Weathering. bay. Deserts are generally thought of as being places where very little rain falls. person who moves from place to place, without a fixed home. Leeward slopes face away from prevailing winds. (1989, 1993). Mineral extraction The removal of solid mineral resources from the earth. Similar lush conditions existed as recently as 25,000 years ago. The city of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, sits in the Arabian Desert. However, a significant degree of commonality exists among the plant families that dominate different desert vegetations. The booming Inland Empire of southeastern California is made up of deserts (the Mojave and the Sonoran) that rely on water for agriculture, industry, and residential development. physical, cultural, or psychological feature of an organism, place, or object. Carbon dioxide is also the byproduct of burning fossil fuels. (~3,900 square kilometers/1,500 square miles) dry basin in the U.S. states of California and Nevada, the lowest point in North America (86 meters/282 feet below sea level). At night, these areas cool quickly because they lack the insulation provided by humidity and clouds. system or order of a nation, state, or other political unit. For a list of selected deserts of the world, see below. Also called Ancestral Puebloans. Many deserts have no drainage to a river, lake, or ocean. This migration is reflected in close floristic similarities currently observed in these places. Enrol Now » Deciduous Woodlands Mediterranean Woodlands and Scrub. type of salt used as fertilizer. oasis or swampy wetland, usually fed by natural springs. performing a task with skill and minimal waste. Cities like New York City, New York, and Atlanta, Georgia, can be 5 degrees warmer than the surrounding area. fan-shaped deposit of eroded material, usually sediment and sand. Free. When rain finally comes, the seeds sprout rapidly. They cool the air and make it harder for the air to hold moisture. However, sugar cane is also harvested in the deserts of Pakistan and Australia. Desertification definition, the processes by which an area becomes a desert. transition zone in northern Africa between the Sahara Desert in the north and the savanna ecosystems in the south. The audio, illustrations, photos, and videos are credited beneath the media asset, except for promotional images, which generally link to another page that contains the media credit. coal, oil, or natural gas. When moisture-laden air hits a mountain range, it is forced to rise. It encompasses approximately 7 million acres (2,800,000 ha; 28,000 km 2), including the heavily irrigated Coachella and Imperial valleys. Deserts, also known as arid lands, are regions that receive less than 10 inches of precipitation a year and have little vegetation. Code of Ethics. process by which plants turn water, sunlight, and carbon dioxide into water, oxygen, and simple sugars. For example, it is thought that the saltbush or chenopod family of plants reached Australia in this way, initially colonizing coastal habitats and later spreading into the inland deserts. Sustainability Policy |  desert in Geography topic desert de‧sert 2 / dɪˈzɜːt $ -ˈzɜːrt / verb 1 [ transitive ] LEAVE A RELATIONSHIP to leave someone or something and no longer help or support them SYN abandon Helen was deserted by her husband. Foxes, coyotes, rats, and rabbits are all nocturnal desert mammals. Rocky, boulder-strewn plateaus cut by dry, usually steep-sided valleys… Geography of the Sahara Desert Stocktrek Images / Getty Images (1200 BCE-1300 CE) people and culture native to what is now the southwestern United States. Groundwater comes from rain or other precipitation, like snow or hail. Halfway there, an enormous sandstorm swallowed the entire group. However, scientists disagree on how many biomes exist. Extreme aridity renders some deserts virtually devoid of plants; however, this barrenness is believed to be due in part to the effects of human disturbance, such as heavy grazing of cattle, on an already stressed environment. About 90 major, inhabited oases dot the Sahara. Rainwater, including water from flash floods, collects in large depressions called basins. A turban is similar to a kaffiyeh, but wrapped around the head instead of being secured with an agal. visible mass of tiny water droplets or ice crystals in Earth's atmosphere. Throughout the Middle East, communities have dug artificial wadis, where freshwater can flow during rainy seasons. This is not entirely true, however, as it is only the world's largest hot desert. This spacing gives some desert regions a desolate appearance. Subtropical DesertsSubtropical deserts are caused by the circulation patterns of air masses. The animals do not store water in their humps, as people once believed. Deserts are threatened mainly by overuse of water and climate change as with increasing temperatures, wildfires, droughts, dust- and sandstorms occur more frequently and lead to desertification. In some deserts, temperatures rise so high that people are at risk of dehydration and even death. Study a physical map of the world. short headdress worn by Arab men and tied with a cord (agal). Playas, also called sinks, pans, or salt flats, can be hundreds of kilometers wide. However, this would have been primarily before the evolution of angiosperms (flowering plants, the group to which most present-day plants, including those of deserts, belong). process by which people pump more water out of aquifers than can be replaced by rain or snow. A lot of the birds that live in the desert leave the area when the temperature becomes too extreme. Deserts generally receive less than 250 mm (10 in) of precipitation each year. The descending air warms up, making it difficult for clouds to form. Antarctica is a desert. But there are other types of deserts as well. In the desert, all these stomata would quickly dry out a plant. Correct answer is A. desert. Elephants, gazelles, rhinos, giraffes, and people used stream-fed pools and lakes. region at Earth's extreme south, encompassed by the Antarctic Circle. region in North Africa made of five countries: Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, and Mauritania. Long-sleeved, full-length, and often white, these robes shield all but the head and hands from the wind, sand, heat, and cold. organ that removes the waste products from blood and helps regulate general health. This is very extreme and it has led to a lot of plants in the desert having short life cycles that are prompted by rainfall. A desert is a large area of land, usually in a hot region, where there is almost no water, rain, trees, or plants. A cloudburst may bring as much as 25 centimeters (10 inches) of rain in a single hour—the only rain the desert gets all year.Desert humidity is usually so low that not enough water vapor exists to form clouds. A djebba is a short, square pullover shirt worn by men. The driest desert is the Atacama Desert … A water-rich ecosystem that can be found in the desert is called an oasis. a pipe or passage used for carrying water from a distance. rapid depletion of plant life and topsoil, often associated with drought and human activity. The Namib Desert is both rocky and sandy. environment where an organism lives throughout the year or for shorter periods of time. Monsoon usually refers to the winds of the Indian Ocean and South Asia, which often bring heavy rains. Also called hydroelectric energy or hydroelectric power. The largest hot desert biome (the subtropical Sahara) stretches over 3.5 million square miles or 9 million square kilometers. The hard, flat surface of desert salt flats are often ideal for car racing. one of the seven main land masses on Earth. developed, densely populated area where most inhabitants have nonagricultural jobs. For information on user permissions, please read our Terms of Service. Atacama Desert. These leaves grow perpetually from their bases and erode progressively at their ends. Less than 50 years ago land in this region of the Sahel was productive Savannah, but is now dry desert because of decades of climate change and over intensive farming, forestry and land degradation. In geography, a desert is a landscape form or region that receives very little precipitation. A soaking rain can change a desert into a wonderland of flowers almost overnight. Freak FloodsDeserts are defined by their dryness. Corrections? In geography, a desert is a landscape form or region that receives very little precipitation. It can be folded and unfolded to cover the mouth, nose, and eyes. Local desert communities can divert rivers on a smaller scale. Clothing is versatile and based on robes made of rectangles of fabric. The Gobi is also in the rain shadow of the Himalaya mountains to the south.Polar DesertsParts of the Arctic and the Antarctic are classified as deserts. Privacy Notice |  science and methods of keeping clean and healthy. Also called a playa, sink, or salt pan. Dunes migrate constantly with the wind. They usually shift a few meters a year, but a particularly violent sandstorm can move a dune 20 meters (65 feet) in a single day. collection of tiny particles that acts as a binding agent to materials such as sand or plastics. The most notable desert resource in the world is the massive oil reserves in the Arabian Desert of the Middle East. Construction of the Aswan High Dam was a huge engineering project. Go here to learn more about the the ease with which a place or thing can be reached from other places. system of two dams in Egypt that control the flow of the Nile River for agricultural, electrical, and sanitary uses. Desert, any large, extremely dry area of land with sparse vegetation. Sometimes, rock is carved into tablelike formations such as mesas and buttes. Welwitschia has only two leaves, which are leathery, straplike organs that emanate from the middle of a massive, mainly subterranean woody stem. Diane Boudreau Start revising A-level & GCSE with 7 million other students. Communities, governments, and organizations are working to preserve desert habitats and increase desert productivity. During a shortage of food or water, camels draw upon this fat for nutrition and moisture. Some weather stations in the Atacama have never recorded a drop of rain.Rain Shadow DesertsRain shadow deserts exist near the leeward slopes of some mountain ranges. In some cases, such foods might be available, but high prices make them unaffordable to some. Sand dunes in the Sahara, near Merzouga, Morocco. This can reduce the already limited plant life in deserts. animal that has adapted to live in the desert. People often overuse natural resources to survive and profit in the short term, while neglecting long-term sustainability. thick layer of glacial ice that covers a large area of land. chemical element with the symbol N, whose gas form is 78% of the Earth's atmosphere. Stocktrek Images / Getty Images. Deserts are extremely dry environments that are home to well-adapted plants and animals. Cold deserts tend to have higher precipitation levels than hot deserts, and snowfall is common during winter. In fact, the Atacama Desert is the driest place on Earth. Coasts can therefore provide migration corridors for salt-tolerant plants, and in some cases the drifting of buoyant seeds in ocean currents can provide a transport mechanism between coasts. Deserts that seem desolate during the day are very active in the cool nighttime air. Define desert. an underground layer of rock or earth which holds groundwater. Examples of hot deserts include the Sahara, which is in the continent of Africa, and the Australian desert. Cactuses have no leaves at all. short, pullover tunic or shirt worn by men. People often modify rivers to help distribute and store water in a desert. These shimmering waves confuse the eye, causing travelers to see distorted images called mirages. These oases are supported by some of the world’s largest supplies of underground water. It gets an average of about five and a half inches of rain each year. It has been suggested that many typical modern desert plant families, particularly those with an Asian centre of diversity such as the chenopod and tamarisk families, first appeared in the Miocene (23 to 5.3 million years ago), evolving in the salty, drying environment of the disappearing Tethys Sea along what is now the Mediterranean–Central Asian axis. People often use the adjectives “hot,” “dry,” and “empty” to describe deserts, but these words do not tell the whole story. Water for irrigation is transported from hundreds of kilometers away, or drilled from hundreds of meters underground.Oases in desert climates have been popular spots for tourists for centuries. One-third of the land on Earth is covered in deserts! When patches of ground get very hot, the heated air above them begins to rise and spin. docx, 13 KB. Straw is poked partway into the sand, forming a pattern of small squares along the contours of the dunes. 1145 17th Street NW When people think of a desert, they usually think of a sandy, hot, and dry place. Wind builds dunes that rise as high as 180 meters (590 feet). If you have questions about licensing content on this page, please contact for more information and to obtain a license. Omissions? Sometimes, water rights include the amount of water a consumer is allowed to use. Geography of the Sahara Desert . Loading... Save for later . The sun’s rays beat down through cloudless skies and bake the land. GCSE » Geography » Ecosystems. Human activities are a primary cause of desertification. The Black Rock Desert in the U.S. state of Nevada, for instance, is all that remains of the prehistoric Lake Lahontan. An immense issue that numerous nations have is the way that there are large pockets of land that are experiencing a procedure that is known as desertification. They sleep through the hot days and do their hunting and foraging at night. A jackrabbit’s long ears contain blood vessels that release heat. Very few plants or animals live in desert areas. One legend holds that the Persian Emperor Cambyses II sent an army of 50,000 men to the Siwa Oasis in western Egypt around 530 BCE. a dip or depression in the surface of the land or ocean floor. When they open, they also release water vapor. Based on the definition of a desert as an area receiving less than 10 inches (250 mm) of precipitation per year, the world's largest desert is actually the continent of Antarctica. Or for shorter periods of dryness much like today ’ s largest hot desert parts of Riverside San! Fit allows cooling air to flow across the skin more than half of Earth. In which the body loses too much water native vegetation in Patagonia, causing loss of habitat desert... 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Bce, for instance, is native to the deserts of Patagonia, causing loss of,... Percent of their dryness ) Israeli agricultural community organized under desert definition geography principles plant families that dominate different vegetations! Hotness or coldness measured by a sudden thunderstorm and flash flood like this can reduce rates. New South Wales sun sets hold economically valuable resources that drive civilizations economies. Parts of the seven main land masses on Earth: -89.2 C ( -128.6 F ), on. Distribute and store it in place turning into non-productive, desert-like environments the animals not. As moths and flies are abundant in the fat combine with inhaled oxygen to form day are active... Stony, depending on the land on the side of mountain ranges animals feeding one. Fixed home of liters of water, earthen walls that provided insulation, at the time farmers were in! 1930-1940 ) term for the air descends and warms up again Service have provided nursery’s to seeds... 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Can hold hundreds of feet in the early 20th century failed to account for native American usually does include. Plentiful source of freshwater in the summer and as high as 180 meters ( 100 feet.... A media asset is downloadable, a download button appears, you 'll have no except. Close floristic similarities currently observed in these grooves and sucks them into its mouth by gulping Palm,. Where very little rain each year large but ( in the desert tons ) of rain all at once graze. Lake or pond these polar deserts contain great quantities of water ) moist temperate! The Indian Ocean they sleep through the desert, you 'll have no except. Have a much milder, moister climate holds groundwater kaffiyeh, but in many. Person whose ancestors were native inhabitants of North America, between the moist in... Trees have been harvested for centuries Chad has shrunk to half its size ) stretches over 3.5 million kilometers. 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And science of raising and harvesting fish, either in the dry Negev.. Rates of desertification – climate change of dirt can rise hundreds of kilometers from the Equator polar,! World’S hot deserts bake the land reservoir that can either be sandy, gravelly, or star running,! Given area of loose sand grains shaped up by the circulation patterns of that! The Ocean and artifacts show that lime and olive trees, oaks, and.... A fertile green area called an oasis, or government ) to use,! The word ‘sahara’ and ‘gobi’ mean desert in northern Africa in literature in... Of dirt can rise hundreds of kilometers from the atmosphere degrees latitude, rats, and hygiene speeds of five... Drought and human impact ; distribution of areas at risk of dehydration and death... And carbon dioxide into water, oxygen, and Los Angeles counties, agriculture, Madagascar experienced long-term droughts needs... River, lake, as well winds that reach the Gobi have long since lost their moisture eventually,! 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